[[quoteright:259:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/PerryMason_852.jpeg]]
[[caption-width-right:259:Raymond Burr as Perry Mason on the TV series.]]

->''"Who can we get on the case?\\
We need Perry Mason\\
Someone to put you in place\\
Calling Perry Mason again"''
-->--'''Music/OzzyOsbourne'''

->''"The premise: inflexible. The first act was devoted to murky upper-middle-class perfidy, a tangled stumble-footed mess that ended with a corpse on the potting shed floor. (Dressed in suit, face down.) This was your chance to pick a horse: was it the earnest plain wife, the scheming sister, the dull-eyed handyman, the oily blackmailer, the strange 'Colonel Mustard' who said he had to fetch a candlestick from the conservatory? You’d never know who made the roscoe bark until the last scene, but one thing was certain: whoever went to Perry first was innocent."''
-->-- '''[[http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/07/0107/011107.html James Lileks]]''', describing the 1957-66 series

''Perry Mason'' is a hugely successful multimedia franchise of the twentieth century. Beginning as a series of best-selling novels by Earl Stanley Gardner in the 1930s, it was soon adapted for film, radio, and, in the 1950s, for an iconic and influential TV series on Creator/{{CBS}}.

Mason is a skilled defense attorney who takes on seemingly hopeless cases, and turns them into victories by investigating the mystery, with the help of his secretary, Della Street, and private detective Paul Drake. Then, in a dramatic courtroom scene, Mason's new evidence is introduced, and the real criminal is forced to confess. Usually while on the witness stand.

There were eighty novels in the series by the time Gardner died in 1969, and two more were published posthumously. The first was 1933's ''The Case of the Velvet Claws'', and the last was ''The Case of the Postponed Murder''.

Seven movies were theatrically released between 1934 and 1940; the first four all starred Warren William as Mason. The final movie retooled the Perry Mason concept beyond all recognition into the western crime comedy ''Granny Get Your Gun''. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granny_Get_Your_Gun Yes, really.]]

The radio series began in 1943. It focused more on action than courtroom drama, and Gardner eventually withdrew his support for the show, which then went on to be adapted into the television soap opera, ''Series/TheEdgeOfNight''.

The original ''Perry Mason'' TV series debuted in 1957, and ran through 1966. It featured Raymond Burr as Mason, Barbara Hale as Della Street, and William Hopper as Paul Drake. It was, at the time, the longest-running, and most successful lawyer show on television, and is still what most people think of when they hear the name.

The TV series was revived in 1973 as ''The New Perry Mason'', with a completely different cast, but it only lasted one season. It was then revived ''again'' as a made-for-TV movie, ''Perry Mason Returns'' in 1985, with the surviving cast of the original show, plus William ''Series/TheGreatestAmericanHero'' Katt as Paul Drake Jr. The success of this TV movie spurred the production of ''twenty-nine'' more ''Perry Mason'' TV movies between 1985 and 1994, with the last installment airing after Raymond Burr's death in 1993. (NBC made a few more TV movies without Raymond Burr before calling it quits.)

The series is very popular overseas--a ''Turkish'' version (also called ''Perry Mason'') was produced in 1983. It also [[FilkSong inspired a song]] by Music/OzzyOsbourne.

Creator/WarnerBros has announced plans for [[http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2011/10/06/robert-downey-jr-perry-mason/ an upcoming feature film adaptation of the character]], to be played by Creator/RobertDowneyJr The film will reportedly be based on the books and original movies rather than the series, and be set in [[TheThirties 1930s]] UsefulNotes/LosAngeles.

Many episodes of the 1943-1955 radio series have fallen into the public domain in the United States, and can be [[http://www.archive.org/details/Perry_Mason_Radio_Show downloaded courtesy of the Internet Archive]].
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!!Is the TropeMaker of the following tropes:
* ThePerryMasonMethod

!!''Perry Mason'' provides examples of:

* AcousticLicense: Variable, depending on the episode. Some witnesses would whisper or sob during their big moments and be heard perfectly; other times the judge would instruct them to speak up.
* ActingForTwo: Burr in a season nine episode.
* AgeLift: Della Street is 27 in the first book, she is played in the TV series by Barbara Hale (who was 35 in the first season). Lt. Tragg is stated in the books to be the same age as Perry - he is played by 68-year-old Ray Collins.
* AlwaysOnDuty: The various homicide lieutenants seemed to turn up at every murder that occurred in L. A., no matter the time of day (or night).
* AlwaysMurder: A strong codifier in television - this show quite popularly used the idea that if the initial issue didn't involve murder, the viewer could be sure that only meant there would be a murder later on to thicken the plot.
* AmoralAttorney: Very often played straight when an attorney turned up among the murder suspects. Either played straight or averted with District Attorney Hamilton Burger, depending on the writer. Guest prosecutors tended to run the gamut as well.
* AssholeVictim: Many of the murder victims were blackmailers, thieves, murderers themselves or just [[{{Jerkass}} someone so irritating]] or otherwise evil that absolutely nobody would mind their being dead - and what's more many of the murders are in self-defense. This not only makes many of the murderers sympathetic for dramatic purposes, is also adds to the mystery: in an average Perry Mason story, nearly everyone has a motive. Oddly enough, any crimes that the victims do (including murder) are often not investigated by Tragg and Burger which means [[KarmaHoudini they would have likely gotten away with them]].
* BadassBoast: Perry's first appearance in ''The Case of the Velvet Claws'' (1933) has him sum up his practice in two short-yet-powerful words:
-->'''Mason''': People that come to me don't come to me because they like the looks of my eyes, or the way my office is furnished, or because they've known me at a club. They come to me because they need me. They come to me because they want to hire me for what I can do.\\
'''Eva Griffin (client)''': Just what is it that you do, Mr. Mason?\\
'''Mason''': '''[[TheAce I fight.]]'''
* BaitAndSwitchCredits: The opening credits for the renamed "A Perry Mason Mystery" specials state "Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner;" at this point, we're down to Della Street and even she's gone in the first five minutes.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Subverted oh so many times, since 99% of the women in the books are beautiful.
* BigGood: Perry often plays this role - he not only pledges to defend and clear every client that comes his way no matter what it takes, but he often goes out of his way to help people outside of his cases as well - even if it does ultimately come down to court. He's even gone out of his way to help people who likely would have no way to pay him. He has a very strong reputation for his goodness and skill, which proceeds him greatly: he's not only a trusted source of advice, but nearly all of his clients come to him (rather than the other way around) because they know he can and will help.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: The second-season episode "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat", which involved arson, had the phrase "mineral spirits" repeatedly overdubbed with "volatile spirits" because of antsy censors who [[AndSomeOtherStuff didn't want them to use the name of an actual substance that could start fires]].
* BrainyBrunette: Della Street.
* BusmansHoliday: Perry in "The Case of the Angry Mourner".

* ChalkOutline
* CharacterOutlivesActor: Raymond Burr died of cancer in 1993, but four more made-for-TV movies were made after the fact, all featuring {{Suspiciously Similar Substitute}}s standing in for an out-of-town Perry (one of whom, "Wild Bill" [=McKenzie=], even gets a phone call from him in one movie).
* CharacterTitle
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Particularly in regards to Perry Mason and Hamilton Burger, whose characterizations in the TV series [[DynamicCharacter gradually diverged]] from those in [[StaticCharacter the novels.]] Occasional [[CharacterCheck reversions]] to the original personalities do occur, especially in the last season.
* ClearMyName: That is exactly what Perry Mason will work to do if he suspects his client has been framed.
* ConflictBall: Burger (or the prosecutor of the week) often ends up with this when Perry attempts one of his [[CourtroomAntic "grandstand stunts."]]
* GoodLawyersGoodClients: Although many times in the books Mason was doubting the innocence of his clients.
* ContinuityReboot: ''The New Perry Mason'' attempted to do this.
* ConvictionByContradiction
* CreatorCameo: Erle Stanley Gardner in the first series finale.
* CrusadingLawyer: Mason is the TropeCodifier in television.
* CourtroomAntic: Although usually justified either by the Antics being performed at a pre-trial hearing[[note]]For those wondering, in California, at least, the Grand Jury requirement can be waived for a pre-trial hearing in front of a judge[[/note]], or being explicitly designed to recreate the crime or PullTheThread.
* ADayInTheLimelight: Paul, Della, Andy and Burger all get at least one spotlight episode each.
* DisregardThatStatement
* DramaticDownstageTurn: Used especially in the courtroom scenes to add movement and interest during witness testimony.
* EverybodyIsSingle: No one in the main cast is shown to be in any kind of committed relationship, at least during the first series.
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: Many episodes end with Perry, Della and Paul doing this. On rare occasion, even Tragg and Burger get in on it.
* EverybodySmokes: And how. William Talman ended up making a "please don't smoke" PSA ''in 1968''... seventeen years before the famous one by Creator/YulBrynner. It aired a handful of times just before he died.
* FakeAmerican: Raymond Burr is Canadian.
* ForGreatJustice: Often stated as the motivation of both the prosecution and the defense.
* GracefulLoser: Burger, half of the time.
* HeyItsThatGuy: The [[DickClark guilty party]] of the last series episode is better known for his rockin {{Pyramid}} schemes.
* HollywoodHomely: Invoked in at least a few episodes. One such is "The Case of the Green-Eyed Sister". The "homely" sister is actually quite attractive and has a nice voice.
* HollywoodLaw: Often played straight despite Gardner's law background. Could be classified under AcceptableBreaksFromReality.
* HollywoodVoodoo: "The Case of the Fatal Fetish."
* {{Homage}}: "The Case of the Twice-Told Twist" to ''Literature/OliverTwist''. {{Lampshaded}} in the episode's title and the episode itself.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Events near the end of "The Case of the Empty Tin" leave both Perry and Burger somewhat shaken. Perry offers to buy his friend a drink and the offer is accepted.
* IdenticalStranger: Perry has one.
** Bruce Jason (who substituted for Mason in "The Case of the Two-Faced Turnabout") also had one.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Every novel's title started with the words "The Case of (the)...", as did every theatrical release, every episode of both TV series, and every TV movie. Often they had an alliterative subject: the Poison Pen, the Dangerous Doll, etc.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness:
** Our heroes.
** Averted in at least one episode. Mason purposely fabricates a back story for a client that would make it appear she was nowhere near a man who was killed.
* InspectorLestrade: Lt. Tragg.
* InvincibleHero: Perry Mason. Legend has it that the TV writers wanted to do at least one episode where Perry lost, but Erle Stanley Gardner shot them down. Rescuing a client from the electric chair at the last possible moment was as close as it got.
** Perry actually lost 3 cases in the Raymond Burr series:
*** Episode 1.38, "The Case of the Terrified Typist" - the one most people who think "Perry only lost once" think of: the big case of the episode ends in Burger's favor. Too bad they were trying an imposter, invalidating the entire trial.
*** Episode 6.28, "The Case of the Witless Witness" - this is the easiest to forget, because it's not the main case of the episode, but one which he loses at the beginning.
*** Episode 7.04, "The Case of the Deadly Verdict" - another where the episode starts with Perry losing, this time because his client lied to him. He spends the rest of the episode setting things right.
** [[WordOfGod Barbara Hale]] (Della Street), however, said in a relatively recent interview that the cases lost by Perry had been declared mistrials off the air.
* TheJudge: Almost always [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep unnamed]], and listed in the cast with the non-regulars.
* LawProcedural
* LongRunner
* UsefulNotes/LosAngeles: The usual setting. Justified, because Mason's license allows him to practice law only in California.
** Averted for the TV movies, which were set in UsefulNotes/{{Denver}}. Mason may have passed the Colorado bar... or Colorado admitted him on motion.[[note]] Many [[TheSeveralStates US states]] allow lawyers who have practiced in other states for a certain time (usually 5 of the last 7 years) to practice there without taking the bar exam. Notable exceptions to this rule include California and Florida.[[/note]]
* LoveMartyr: Many women in numerous cases, towards their boyfriends / husbands.
* MaleGaze: Invoked a few times; for example "The Case of the Crimson Kiss" starts out with a man admiring an attractive woman from the legs up.
* MarriedToTheJob: Seems to be the case for all of the main characters in the first series.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: William Talman as Burger. In his anti-smoking PSA the first thing he does is show you his beautiful family.
* MiscarriageOfJustice: Perry's clients are saved from this by the end of the episode, of course, but various persons not represented by him are subjected to this fate.
* MobileMenace: Tragg likes popping up at the worst possible times for Perry and his clients, with no notice and often very improbably.
* MoralDissonance: Sometimes occurred when a novel was adapted into an episode without accounting for the moral differences between the television characters and their literary counterparts.
* MotiveRant
* [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist Multiple-Practice Lawyer]]: In many cases, the future defendant already had Mr. Mason on retainer for civil or divorce matters.
* NiceHat
* NotSoFakePropWeapon: This is the central plot point of ''Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star''.
* OfficialCouple: Perry and Della.
* PerpSweating
* TheCaseOf: The novels, most of films, and the individual episodes of the TV series all used this template.
* ThePerryMasonMethod: Trope Namer.
* PleaBargain: Occasionally one will be offered to Perry's client, but he or she eventually turns it down.
* PoseOfSupplication: "The Case of the Empty Tin." A wronged woman, sobbing, pleading for understanding, first holds her hands out in supplication and then collapses to her knees, throwing her arms around the man who holds her life in his hands... said man being Hamilton Burger. The woman is a murderess at least twice over.
* PowerTrio: Perry, Paul and Della. May be subclassified as [[ThreeAmigos Three Amigos]], [[TwoGuysAndAGirl Two Guys and a Girl]] and/or [[BeautyBrainsAndBrawn Beauty, Brains and Brawn]].
* PrintLongRunners: Almost 40 years, from 1933 to the 1970s.
* PrivateDetective: Paul Drake. Perry isn't far from one himself.
* ProtagonistCenteredMorality: Perry clearly oversteps the boundaries of ethical behavior on occasion, but he's neither remorseful nor held accountable. When his opponents [[WhatTheHellHero bring it up]] they're portrayed as being petty or malicious.
* PullTheThread
* PunnyName: "Hamilton Burger" minus "-ilton" = "Ham Burger."
* PutOnABus: Paul Drake, Jr. and D.A. Michael Reston after the TV movies switched settings to Colorado.
* RealLifeRelative: William Katt, who played Paul Drake, Jr. in the first few TV movies, is the real-life son of Barbara Hale (Della Street).
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: In the final TV movie Burr filmed (''The Case of the Killer's Kiss''), his physical weakness (from his inoperable cancer) was becoming obvious; he was apparently unable to stand unassisted, so Mason is ''always'' either sitting down or standing up and leaning completely on the defense table. The one scene where he had to be standing only showed a closeup of his head, neck and shoulders, so somebody was probably holding him up.
* RecklessGunUsage: If there was a gun involved in the murder-of-the-week, odds are good that Perry Mason will recklessly wave that gun around. One episode was {{egregious}}: The district attorney, Hamilton Burger, fondles the murder weapon (a revolver marked as exhibit whatever) during the trial and rests it casually on the witness box, his finger on the trigger, the barrel aimed directly at the weapons expert's head. After a few questions, he turns it toward the jury, gesturing dramatically. Then, Mason does exactly the same thing when cross-examining.
* RecursiveAdaptation: First the novels, then the series based on the novels, then the {{Made for TV Movie}}s based on the series... then novels based on the {{Made for TV Movie}}s.
* {{Retool}}: The first time the series moved to TV from radio it became the long-running soap opera ''Series/TheEdgeOfNight''.
* TheRival: Both Lt. Tragg and District Attorney Hamilton Burger tended to play this role in regards to Mason.
** D.A. Michael Reston filled this role in the 11 or so TV movies he appeared in (played by [[{{Series/Mash}} David Ogden Stiers]]).
* RoleReprisal: Burr and Hale in the TV movies.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: In "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat". And no, not everyone passes it.
* SexySecretary: Della Street.
* ShoutOut: Erle Stanley Gardner appears uncredited as a judge in the final episode of the series.
** ShoutOut/ToShakespeare: At least two instances in "The Case of the Lost Last Act," very probably more.
** "The Case of the Startled Stallion" has a character quoting Shakespeare.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple
* SoreLoser: Burger, [[BrickJoke the other half of the time]].
* SpousalPrivilege
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''{{Matlock}}''. The Hallmark Channel's series of ''[=McBride=]'' made-for-TV movies could be considered this as well.
* SpringtimeForHitler: Except Perry made it work.
* StatusQuoIsGod
* StockLegalPhrases
* StrawLoser: Burger on occasion, though not as much so as in the novels.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Lt. Anderson for Lt. Tragg (though Andy and Tragg appeared concurrently for awhile), then Lt. Drumm for Lt. Anderson.
** In the TV movies, aspiring attorney Ken Malansky became this for Paul Drake, Jr.
* TakeThat: When ''TheNewPerryMason'' was running, reruns of the show were promoted as ''The Real Perry Mason''.
** The final TV movie to feature Burr as Mason, ''The Case of the Killer Kiss'', saw him up against (and resoundingly defeat) a local district attorney referred to only as "Mr. Markham," which was the name of the actor who played Mason in the aforementioned ''New'' series (''Monte'' Markham, to be precise). Mr. Markham also appeared in the first post-Burr ''Perry Mason Mystery'' movie.
* ThemeTune: "Park Avenue Beat" by Fred Steiner. Could also be considered the show's SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic.
* TitleDrop: Used in a few episodes.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood: Perry sometimes comes up against such a choice, though he barely hesitates (if at all) before choosing "good."
* TricksterArchetype: Perry is an interestingly lawful example - he often uses a mix of tricky guile and venerable wisdom to uncover clues and solve mysteries, but rarely actually uses coercion or trickery to ''make'' the guilty say something.
* TrueCompanions: Perry, Paul and Della. Could be expanded to include Tragg ([[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute or Andy or Steve]]) and Burger.
* TruthInTelevision: Mason points out that his defence isn't as effective if clients lie to him or withhold information. Real life defence attorneys have faced similar situations.
* {{UST}}: Between Perry and Della. The TV movies suggest that they start dating.
* WackyAmericansHaveWackyNames: Hamilton Burger.
** Plenty of examples from other characters, too. Mauvis Meade/Morley Theilman/Jackson Sidemark, anyone?
* WalkingAwayShot: The third and fourth opening of the show starts with him doing it. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1wJP-yDdUk&feature=relmfu view here]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVry0LPyKRo and here]]
* WikiRule: [[http://www.perrymasontvseries.com/ www.perrymasontvseries.com]]
* WrittenInInfirmity
** For awhile (around season six) there was a string of episodes that followed some associate of Perry's while the man himself was recuperating in a hospital room and was only seen in brief telephone calls. This was because actor Raymond Burr was recovering from surgery and couldn't handle the usual workload.
** Burr played the role with one arm in a sling during four season eight episodes
** William Talman (Hamilton Burger) showed up first with a leg cast and crutches, then with laryngitis, during season two.
* YouLookFamiliar: Often in the original TV series. Mona Freeman and Patricia Breslin each played three of Perry's clients; Bill Williams (husband of co-star Barbara Hale) appeared in four episodes, in very different roles.
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